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Kit Kat go to the same school (different divisions and different buses) and although Kat’s is much further away than Kit’s (for a couple of years at least), that does not stop Kit from complaining that she gets hungry on the way back...the school has a "No Food" policy on the bus and I have always stuck to that. Now here comes the problem – I am one of the many mums who will comply with what the school says but when your kid comes across a happily munching kid on the bus, you are in for some serious conversations! While Kat (now of an age where she understands right and wrong...well, I hope!), I am often faced with heart breaking questions from Kit.
Kit: “Why does ABC get candy on the bus and you never allow me?”
Me: *sigh* “Kit you know you are not allowed to carry food. It’s dangerous to be eating when the bus is moving and there is no adult around you. ABC is NOT doing the right thing.”
Kit (sounding hurt): “But she still eats it and I can’t. One day I asked her for candy and she said no”
Me: (this one really breaks my heart – how can someone whose parents are doing the wrong thing be able to hurt MY child’s feelings!) I still go on… “You have to understand Kit. You don’t have to ask her, if you need something, you ask me when you get home” (the bus ride is not more than 15 mins for Kit)
Kit is not fully convinced (I can figure that one out) but turns away and changes the topic. What did I just become? A monster? A horrible mum who allows her baby to look at other kids eating on the bus and whose little girl wishes she had the goodies? Is it ok to be so righteous all the time? Is there an easy way to explain to a 4 yo that what everyone on the bus is doing is wrong but your mum is right?
It angers me when I see how other parents cannot relate to this. Who in their right mind should send a 4 yo with chewing gum on a school bus? I mean it can truly become a choking hazard - are they not aware of that? Are these the parents who are always eager to do everything/anything for their kids because they don’t have time to talk to them or reason with them? It would be so easy for me to send Kit with a little snack for the return trip and that would be the end to all this moaning but then I ask myself “Is that the right thing for me to do for her?” “Am I teaching her not to obey the rules by setting an example myself?” Kit may ‘like’ me more in the short term (if I agree to everything she says) but I am confident that in the longer term, these values will become second nature and she will respect me for that.
Kit has also witnessed me complaining to the Transport Director about this issue and only yesterday I brought it up with the bus driver who has promised this will never happen. So I hope this will teach Kit to fight for the right cause and be strong(er) in the years to come.
Kat took some time to understand the ‘rules’ but now knows very well that I will not stand for anything wrong and this has helped her become much more assertive in her dealings with others. Even if my righteousness brings only an iota of benefit to my girls, I am willing to stick with it.
We have a huge responsibility of instilling virtues in our kids and any parent knows how much hard work (with very little reward, if any) it is. This does not mean we back off – this is our job. Period.